Author Interview: Mark Billingham (Love Like Blood Blog Tour)
I haven’t been part of a blog tour for a while and it feels good to be doing another one! Today is my stop on the blog tour for Love Like Blood, a new crime novel from bestselling author Mark Billingham. You may have heard of him. My step-dad Paul his a huge fan of his books, so I think he was more excited than I was for this post!
Love Like Blood Synopsis
A Bloody Message
As DI Nicola Tanner investigates what appears to be a series of organised killings, her partner Susan is brutally murdered, leaving the detective bereft, and vengeful.
A Powerful Ally
Taken off the case, Tanner enlists the help of DI Tom Thorne to pursue a pair of ruthless killers and the broker handing out the deadly contracts.
A Conspiracy of Silence
As the killers target their latest victim, Thorne takes the biggest risk of his career and is drawn into a horrifying and disturbing world in which families will do anything to protect their honour.
From number one bestseller Mark Billingham comes a masterful, intense crime novel that pits DI Tom Thorne against an evil beyond comprehension, yet shockingly real.
Author Interview: Mark Billingham
First, tell us a bit about your new book and why people should pick it up.
Love Like Blood is the new Tom Thorne novel. After giving him a break with Die Of Shame, I’ve teamed him up with DI Nicola Tanner and together they’re investigating a series of honour-killings which Tanner believes tie in with a very personal tragedy. The inspiration for this book came from a real case: the brutal murder of a young woman called Banaz Mahmod in 2006. It’s probably the worst case of honour killing this country’s ever seen – a horrible conspiracy that eventually saw seven members of the same family sent to prison.
It’s a story that I was very fired up to write, never more so than when this ten year-old crime claimed another victim while I was still writing the book – the young man Banaz had fallen in love with, who killed himself in May last year. Although the story in the book is pure fiction, the subject is clearly one that I had to approach with some sensitivity, but it also made me angrier than anything I’ve written before. I think that, as a thriller, Love Like Blood also has more twists and turns than anything else I’ve written, so if I never wrote another book, I’d be very happy to bow out with this one.
What made you interested in writing crime fiction?
Well, like [your step-dad] Paul, it was what I enjoyed reading (and thanks so much to him for taking the time to read mine). It’s what I still enjoy reading. The best crime novels tell a great story, as well, in some cases, as taking a good hard look at what is going on in the world. That’s not to say they are didactic or tub-thumping, but that, in telling a gripping story, they can perhaps shine a light into some of the darker areas of the lives people lead
Which book do you wish you’d written?
Oh, so many. I’d die a happy writer if I’d written The Maltese Falcon or The Friends Of Eddie Coyle or Black and Blue or almost anything by James Lee Burke or George Pelecanos. I think it’s a good thing to read books by those writers who are raising the bar. I’ve just read the first two crime novels by Susie Steiner that are sickeningly good and really give the police procedural genre the kick up the arse I think it needs. There are a lot of great crime writers out there…
How do you make sure that your books follow the correct procedure and stay close to reality, especially when dealing with crime elements?
I’m less hung up about those things than I used to be. It’s about getting the stuff right that you need to get right and not being silly about every little detail. When I need to, I talk to cops or doctors or lawyers. People are always very happy to talk and that’s when you get the stuff that really brings your stories to life, I think. It’s not reality, of course. It’s a heightened reality, but readers will always be happy to take that journey with you if you give them a good story and, most importantly, characters they can really engage with.
Did you always dream of being a bestselling author, or did you just fall into it?
No, I dreamed of being an actor or a rock star. When neither of those things happened (like they were ever going to!) I became a stand-up and told cheap jokes for money. I managed to get away with that for quite a long time, while doing a bit of scribbling in my spare time. I wrote for TV but didn’t enjoy it and eventually took the leap into writing a novel. I got lucky with that first book – Sleepyhead – and I’d suddenly become a crime writer.
Think back to your first book you ever published. Are you still proud of it? Do you look back and think,“that was rubbish compared to the stuff I write now!”?
Yes, I still have a soft spot for it, because it’s the book that started me down this path. But…if I could go back and write it again, it would be a very different book. I’m not the same writer I was then and I sincerely hope I’m a better one. I think it takes any writer a few books to find their voice. So, I don’t think it was rubbish, but if anyone asks which book of mine they should start with I usually point them towards something more recent. Having said that, I’m also quite anal about reading a series in order, so in terms of the Tom Thorne novels, Sleepyhead is probably still the best place to start.
How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have? Are you the kind of person who sits on loads of ideas but doesn’t write them, or do you get them all into your books?
No, I don’t have anything languishing under the bed or stuck in a drawer. I wish I had a file full of unused ideas and am very envious of those writers that do. Mind you, I do have this one great idea for a series of books about a young boy who gets sent off to a school for wizards. I might get round to that one day…
Sounds like something I’d definitely read… I wonder why that is?! Finally, describe your new book in 10 words or less…
Thorne investigates a series of brutal honour-killings.
Click the links below to buy Love Like Blood*, or find out more about it on Goodreads:
*Note: Affiliate links used – click here for details. 🙂